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Italian Pasta Sauce

As a special part of their wedding buffet, my daughter Kris' husband fixed a big batch of this thick flavorful pasta sauce. The recipe was brought by his grandmother from Italy more than 80 years ago. —Judy Braun, Juneau, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 2-1/2 hours
  • Makes
    20 servings


  • 4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 3 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, optional
  • Hot cooked pasta


  • In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook beef in 2 batches over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. Cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same pan, saute onion, celery and garlic in oil until vegetables are tender.
  • Return the beef and sausage to the pan. Add the next 9 ingredients, including allspice if desired, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness, stirring occasionally, 2-3 hours. Serve over pasta.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add a little broth or water if necessary.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 284 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 57mg cholesterol, 821mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 23g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • AKEmily
    Jul 2, 2020

    Great recipe! I used chicken broth as others suggested. This made quite a large batch but reheated well for leftovers.

  • RosanneMack
    Jan 4, 2020

    I use both chicken

  • carolyn
    Aug 19, 2019

    Good recipe. One I have used per my family for many many yrs! All but the celery. Renee was right about the chicken stock! Using beef stock will ruin the flavor as far as I'm concerned. I use chicken stock rather than beef bouilion in my French onion soup as well. No beef stock ever!

  • annsway1
    Feb 26, 2019

    Luscious old world flavor which I adore. Come on people, lets quit eating 'instant' meals all the time?!

  • Renee
    Feb 9, 2019

    If anyone has read a question here that asked why one would use chicken broth or stock instead of beef broth, because this recipe uses beef as a primary ingredient. I learned something from Americaand#039;s Test kitchen years ago and that is to always use chicken broth or stock because they taste much better than beef stock. In their test kitchen they tested all of them and found that beef broth was unpleasant across the board when compared to chicken broth. For years now Iand#039;ve used chicken stock in my beef recipes such as my Beef and Barley soup or Beef Stew. It tastes great! Happy Cooking!

  • Sarah
    Jan 25, 2019

    Excellent recipe! I followed the recipe exactly and had great results. Makes lots so plenty to freeze too.

  • Rahnee64
    Jan 25, 2019

    I have a question that maybe someone who reads this can answer. If you are making a beef based recipe, why would you suggest chicken broth or stock, instead of just matching beef with beef, and using beef broth/stick? Just curious.